Some entities and stakeholders have raised concerns about the environmental performance of the regional electricity system during a particularly cold multi-week period in December 2017 and January 2018. To better inform recent public discussions around these regional energy and climate issues, as well as potential policy solutions, Acadia Center has compiled and analyzed available data on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, electricity generation, and fuel consumption in the New England region, with conclusions presented in this fact sheet.
In January 2017, Eversource filed its first complete rate case in many years. After a lengthy proceeding, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved four major proposals from Eversource that are bad for ratepayers and move us away from a future with consumer control and widespread local clean energy. The endorsers of this letter support efforts to undo these counterproductive decisions in 2018 and urge the Massachusetts Legislature to ensure that similar steps are not taken in the future.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has now been in effect for nine years in New Hampshire and the numbers tell a clear story: RGGI has produced substantial benefits—not just for the environment—but for the economy, the workforce, and public health. This fact sheet details the benefits New Hampshire has secured from RGGI since the program began.
Policymakers in Massachusetts have directed a study of transportation funding from electric vehicles and whether additional contributions are necessary to offset a loss of revenue from the gasoline tax. Acadia Center’s analysis demonstrates that additional fees are not necessary or fair in the short run, but in the longer term, an energy-equivalent surcharge per kWh of electricity consumed would be a fair way to ensure equitable contributions from all alternative fuels.
Massachusetts has fallen behind its neighbors in exploring and enacting policies that will help the Commonwealth keep pace with clean energy technologies that offer enormous promise to make the electricity grid more responsive to consumers, improve economic competitiveness, and produce substantial reductions in climate pollution. Acadia Center comments on this trend in a three-part opinion series for CommonWealth Magazine. Part One of the series reviews the recent history of grid modernization and utility reform in Massachusetts, its uncertain future, and the need for legislative reforms and oversight. Part Two describes how the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) decision on revenue, return on equity, and utility business model reform fails to benefit consumers and ultimately approves approximately $460 million in additional ratepayer costs. Part Three discusses the DPU decision issued on January 5, 2018, covering rate design.
Just over a year ago, on January 17, 2017, Eversource filed a comprehensive electric rate case in Massachusetts, requesting significant revenue increases, new rate structures, and an array of investments. On November 30, 2017 and January 5, 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities issued its Orders in the case approving nearly all Eversource’s requests. This document describes Acadia Center’s principles for reform and key components of the recent Orders on Eversource’s rate case proposals, followed by next steps and further recommended reforms.
The Community|EnergyVision Action Guide is a tool for communities seeking local clean energy options. It promotes greater alignment between state rules and actions that communities may take to advance clean energy at the local level. The Action Guide provides an overview of the types of clean energy projects that residents, neighborhoods, and municipalities can pursue; a checklist that shows where state rules create barriers to local action across seven Northeast states, as well as where local action is permitted; and detailed state-specific considerations in each area. The Action Guide is customized for seven states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Fixed charges are the flat monthly fees that every customer pays, regardless of the amount of electricity they consume. Starting in the 1990s, New York instituted high fixed charges for residential customers. In the Joint Principles on Residential Fixed Charges in New York, 53 organizations call on New York utility regulators to lower these inefficient and regressive rates. These organizations come from many different perspectives, including low-income and consumer advocates, environmental and clean energy public interest organizations, solar advocates, and clean energy industry groups, and span national organizations as well as community organizations all across New York.
Acadia Center's 2017 RGGI report shows that over its eight and a half years of operation, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States achieve significant reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants from the electric power sector. Over the same period RGGI states’ economies have outpaced the rest of the country, and electricity prices within RGGI have fallen, even as prices in other states have increased.
A key component to achieving a decarbonized energy future, offshore wind is now a reality in the Northeast. The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is operational, Massachusetts is actively reviewing offshore wind project bids, and New York, Maryland, and New Jersey are all developing their own ambitious programs. In Connecticut, offshore wind offers the state an opportunity to grow its clean energy economy, particularly along the shoreline. With three deep-water ports and a skilled manufacturing sector, Connecticut is well-suited to move forward on offshore wind—all that is needed now is policy action.